aka Embrace of the Vampire
Director – Anne Goursaud, Screenplay – Rick Bitzelberger, Nicole Coady & Halle Eaton, Producers – Alan Mruvka & Marilyn Vance, Photography – Suki Medencevic, Music – Joseph Williams, Production Design – Peter Stolz. Production Company – The Ministry of Film/General Media Entertainment/Moving Pictures I
Alyssa Milano (Charlotte Wells), Martin Kemp (Vampire), Harrison Pruett (Chris), Jordan Ladd (Eliza), Rachel True (Nicole), Charlotte Lewis (Sarah), Jennifer Tilly (Marika)
A vampire finds the soul of his beloved, long dead princess reincarnated in the body of innocent, virginal college girl Charlotte Wells. With only three days before he must return to eternal sleep, the vampire determines to seduce Charlotte away from her boyfriend and over to the dark side.
The Nosferatu Diaries: Embrace of the Vampire is another of the modern brand of erotic/dark romantic vampire films. Here the emphasis is clearly on the erotic – most of the attention the film attracted upon release was the prurient fascination of seeing Alyssa Milano, then known as the sweet teen daughter in tv’s Who’s the Boss (1984-92), taking her clothes off.
The Nosferatu Diaries: Embrace of the Vampire makes for a mediocre vampire film. As the vampire, Martin Kemp, the former guitarist in the 1980s pop group Spandau Ballet, spends his time snarling thuggishly – it is a cliched performance of animal ferocity and lacking in any of the dark seductiveness that a role like this needs. Director Anne Goursaud achieves occasional moments that seem suggestive of style – one victim being bitten while trapped in a net; Alyssa Milano thinking she is talking to Martin Kemp who is not there a second later when she is interrupted by someone else. Mostly, Anne Goursaud’s interest is in the erotic elements of the film rather than on the vampiric aspects. There are a number of scenes that seem to be inserted solely and for no other purpose than to get Alyssa Milano to take her clothes off.
What is surprising about The Nosferatu Diaries: Embrace of the Vampire is how conservative it is. Anne Goursaud also directed an undressed Alyssa Milano in the near identically plotted Poison Ivy II: Lily (1995). Both films feature Alyssa Milano as an innocent college girl who, as the film progresses, is corrupted by some outside force (a vampire here, a diary detailing the original Ivy’s exploits in Poison Ivy II), which causes her to start dressing trashy and seducing men. In both films, there is an underlying conservative message – that such sexual wantonness should be rejected – and both films end with Alyssa Milano repenting of her trampish ways and returning to accept the love of her patient and forgiving boyfriend. What is repellent about both films is that while they are clearly made and sold as erotic films, the appeal they found themselves in is an invitation to the same wantonness and sexual desirability that Anne Goursaud in both cases ends up repudiating, in this case even seeing as evil. The strident moral tone both films take at the end is akin to suddenly having an action film turn around at the end and berate its audience for revelling in violence. Of all the films that celebrated a newfound onscreen eroticism after 9½ Weeks (1986) and Basic Instinct (1992), there seem none so hypocritically contradictory as Anne Goursaud’s works.